God, Guns, Oil, and Polluters

A review of the House's dirty work this week


“This week on the House floor has been brought to us by the G.O.P. — Guns, Oil, and Polluters,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva posted. He referred to a series of anti-environmental bills that went to the House floor this week, five of six passing.

The sixth measure, Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R-Nev.) Mining Regulatory Clarity Act (H.R. 2925) to give mining companies free rein over public lands, failed in an embarrassment for the Republican majority. Grijalva explained why six hard-right Republicans helped Democrats kill the bill and send it back to the Natural Resources Committee:

“This bill would allow anyone, even subsidiaries of the state-controlled companies of our foreign adversaries, to claim our open public lands for mining without even requiring them to prove an actual interest in mining on that land.”

The five Guns, Oil, and Polluters bills which did pass on mostly partisan lines were:

  • H.R. 6285 (Pete Stauber, R-Minn.) reinstates leases and lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, rescinds the recently finalized rule for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and opens sensitive and special areas to drilling, like the Bering Sea. Five oil-friendly Democrats voted with the Republicans: a pre-indictment Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, rural conservatives Jared Golden of Maine and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (Wash.), and the cartoonishly corrupt Sanford Bishop (Ga.). Alaska Democrat Mary Peltola notably voted present.

  • H.R. 3195 (Stauber) benefits a Chilean-owned mining company by reinstating two sulfide-ore copper mining leases in the Boundary Waters watershed in Minnesota’s Superior National Forest. Golden and Perez voted with Republicans.

  • H.R. 764 (Lauren Boebert, R-Beetlejuice) removes Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states. The Trump administration delisted the gray wolf in 2020, but a 2022 court decision reinstated most of the protections. Trophy hunters and the National Rifle Association have repeatedly advocated for delisting gray wolves. The Democrats who backed the wolf-killing bill were Cuellar, Golden, Perez, and freshman Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Colo.). Today, Republicans held a pro-wolf-killing field hearing in Minnesota.

  • H.R. 615 (Rob Wittman, R-Va.) bans a ban on lead ammunition and tackle on federal public lands. The National Rifle Association opposes lead ammunition bans. The pro-lead-poisoning Democrats are Cuellar, Golden, Gonzalez, Peltola, Perez, and conservative-district Rep. Don Davis (N.C.) and former Republican Robert Garcia (Calif.).

  • H.R. 3397 (John Curtis, R-Utah) rescinds the Bureau of Land Management’s recently finalized Public Lands Rule to put conservation on equal footing with other uses of public lands, like oil and gas drilling, grazing, and timber. Cuellar, Golden, and Perez were the Democrats who crossed the aisle to oppose their president.

The House managed to pass one other bill and a resolution this week. In a bit of election-year theater, 13 Democrats joined Republicans to denounce Biden immigration policies for creating the “worst border security crisis in the Nation’s history” (H. Res. 1112).

More consequentially, most Democrats and Republicans voted in support of H.R. 6090, a bipartisan bill backed by Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La., no relation) that blurs the lines between opposition to Israel’s right-wing government, anti-Zionism, and anti-semitism. The bill, the American Civil Liberties Union warns, “threatens to censor political speech critical of Israel on college campuses under the guise of addressing antisemitism.” In particular:

“The bill directs the Department of Education to consider an overbroad definition of antisemitism that encompasses protected political speech when investigating allegations of discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.”

The 70 progressive Democrats who opposed the bill included Jewish members Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Becca Balint (D-Vt.), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who argued “this legislation threatens freedom of speech, one of our most cherished values, while doing nothing to combat antisemitism.”

The 21 Republicans who voted against the bill did so because they believe it threatens to criminalize their evangelical-Christian claim that Jews killed Jesus. Back in October, then-Speaker Kevin “Joe” McCarthy (R-Calif.) blamed the Hamas attack on President Biden’s climate policies.

Sometimes the GOP is Guns, Oil, and Polluters, sometimes it’s God, Oil, and Polluters.

"What are you gonna do, hoist me?"

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance on the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Credit to encourage soy and corn-based jet fuel production.

President Biden expanded the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in California using authorities under the Antiquities Act yesterday.

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final rules on the clean vehicle provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which allow graphite to come from any source until 2027.

American oil tycoon Scott Sheffield, the founder and CEO of fracking giant Pioneer Natural Resources, conspired with OPEC to inflate prices, the Federal Trade Commission found yesterday. The FTC investigated Pioneer as part of its oversight of Exxon’s planned $60 billion acquisition of Sheffield’s company. The FTC approved the deal on the condition Sheffield was banned from joining Exxon’s board.

Looking at the FTC’s report, Matt Stoller estimates the oil industry’s price-fixing conspiracy caused 27% of all inflation increases in 2021.

“Stopping one price-fixer from joining one board is not enough,” Lukas Ross, Deputy Director of Climate and Energy Justice at Friends of the Earth, responded. “The FTC’s own revelations are a wake-up call that Big Oil’s merger mania must be stopped.”

 SUV is stranded in a ditch along a stretch of street flooding during a severe storm Thursday in Spring, Texas.

An SUV is stranded in a ditch along a stretch of street flooding during a severe storm Thursday in Spring, Texas. Credit: Brett Coomer

“What the hell are ‘plastic offsets’?” Kate Aronoff asks and answers.

Field Hearing:

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